If you care about freedom of speech, civil liberties, activism, the right to call an officer of the law a name unbecoming of his mother (not that you should do such a thing), or think that the LGBTQ community deserves the same basic rights as anyone else, then you may have heard of Ray Hill. This is one of a few recordings we did. This week Ray talks about activism and ways we can get involved in making Houston a better place to live. Also discussed, is his experience leaving a career as an evangelist (a topic covered more in a future episode), and coming out of the closet as a gay man who would later become an important part of Houston’s LGBTQ community.
Soon we will put up Ray’s story of being a Christian evangelist and what led him to leave that profession. Ray Hill is a treasure and I’m lucky to have had him as a guest.
If you have not I have his CV attached at the end of this post: Sorry for the length but it is worth the read to understand just how much of an honor it is to have him in Houston and as my guest.
Seventy-six year old native Houstonian. Graduated from Galena Park Public Schools; Attended Steven F Austin State University, University of Houston, Tulane University, New Orleans, no degrees. Came out as a gay man to my family and at Galena Park High School in 1958.
Co-founder and President of Promethean Society (Houston’s first gay/lesbian organization (1967-1969); Co-founder (1968), former Board Member and former General Manager (1980-1981) of Pacifica Radio, KPFT-FM; Co-founder, Executive Director Houston Human Rights League (1976-1986); Co-founder (1975), Charter Member on Resurrection MCC (1975); Past President (1989) of Houston Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Political Caucus; Winner of landmark First Amendment US Supreme Court Case Houston v Hill 107 S.Ct 2502, 1987); Co-founder/organizer (1976), Past Chair (1984-1985) of Houston Lesbian Gay Pride Week, Pride Parade Grand Marshall (1981); Convener and Co-Chair (with Jenny Apuzo) of Houston Town Meeting I; Co-founder of Montrose Counseling Center (now Montrose Center) 1978; Cofounder on Montrose Clinic (now Legacy Health Services) 1978 Former Chair (1984-1986) of Montrose Activity Center; Chair of Executive and Coordinating Committees for the First March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, 1979; Founder and original producer and host (1975-1980) of Wilde N Stein (one of the first regularly scheduled gay/lesbian radio shows in the country and the only one in the South in the 1970’s); Cofounder Kaposi’s Sarcoma Foundation (1980, became KS/AIDS Foundation, is now AIDS Foundation Houston); Convict (1970-1975) Texas Prison System; Founder and Executive Director of First Amendment Lobby of Texas (1982-1997); Author of first “Safe Sex Pamphlet” in the country to help prevent the spread of HIV, published by Citizens for Human Equality CHE, Houston, 1982; Contributor to the first three International Conferences on Gender Law and Employment; Author of Model Transgender Policy for Jails and Prisons; Founder/producer/host of Prison Show (the only show of its kind in the US) 1980 to 2012 (continues in retired status); Former board member of Texas C.U.R.E. (Prison reform group) 1986- 1989; Former member of Houston AIDS Prevention Community Planning Group representing incarcerated populations 2000-2006; 2012 to Present Member of Houston Media Source Board (President since 1014) Winner of four Federal suits against the city of Houston for police abuses including the previously mentioned Supreme Court decision; a challenge to a city ordinance requiring people to document their identity on demand of a police officer (the ordinance was removed as a result of my case); a challenge to a city ordinance “blocking the sidewalk (the ordinance was removed as a result of my case); and two cases challenging the city ordinance criminalizing the interruption of a police officer (the first case resulted in the rewriting of the ordinance and the second (the Supreme Court decision eliminated both the ordinance and the state law). Helped with the strategy on Lawrence v Texas.